Compassionate goals. People sometimes feel compassion and want to be supportive (Batson, 1998; Bell & Richard, 2000; Brown & Brown, 2006; Kernis, Brown, & Brody, in press). Of course, people sometimes behave supportively for selfish or self-image reasons (Collins & Feeney, 2000; Feeney & Collins, 2003; Helgeson, 1994; Ryan & Connell, 1989). At times, however, people want to be supportive because they care about others' well-being (Brown & Brown, 2006) , have a prosocial personality (Penner, Dovidio, Piliavin, & Schroeder, 2005; Penner, Fritzsche, Craiger, & Freifeld, 1995) , have a communal relationship with the other (Mills & Clark, 1994) , or because the needs of others are salient (Batson, 1998; Collins & Feeney, 2000; Feeney & Collins, 2003; Rogers, 1971). Crocker & Canevello (2008) refer to goals to be supportive or contribute to others' well-being as compassionate goals. Compassionate goals focus on supporting others, not to obtain something for the self, but because one cares about the well-being of others. When people have compassionate goals they want to be a constructive force in their interactions with others and avoid harming others; they consider others' needs, and the impact of their behavior on others (Crocker & Canevello, 2008).
People who are chronically high in compassionate goals have personality characteristics, views of the self, relationship beliefs and styles, relationship experiences, and emotional states that distinguish them from people who are low in compassionate goals (Crocker & Canevello, 2008). People with compassionate goals report higher spiritual transcendence, feeling that all life is interconnected and sensing shared responsibility of one creature to another; they feel a personal responsibility to other people that extends across generations and within a community. They view their relationships with others as non-zero-sum, assuming that success for one person does not detract from others. They are less entitled, higher in private-self consciousness and self-compassion. Their goals induce calm, positive, other-directed emotions such as love, connection, and empathy. They are less likely to have avoidant attachment styles, and they score higher on the Big 5 personality factors of agreeableness and extraversion.
Compassionate and self-image goals are defined not by content, but by process; specifically, the intentions one has toward others while pursuing important goals. For example, we found that when we asked 199 freshmen about their most important academic goals, nearly every one of them mentioned a GPA they would like to achieve in their first semester. However, these students differed in how much they endorsed compassionate and self-image goals for academics. Compassionate and self-image goals are not opposite ends of a single continuum; in our research the goals are either uncorrelated or positively correlated. Furthermore, although people have chronic levels of these goals over time, the goals fluctuate from week to week, day to day, and even in response to experimental manipulations.
Compassionate and self-image goals can be measured in a variety of domains. Our research has focused on two specific areas: relationships and academics.
Set audacious goals
Architect the future
IN DETAIL PAPER ON SPACE SETTLEMENTS - CLICK HERE, FOR VIDEO CLICK HERE
Who?You. Or at least people a lot like you. Space settlements will be a place for ordinary people.Presently, with few exceptions, only highly trained and carefully selected astronauts go to space. Space settlement needs inexpensive, safe launch systems to deliver thousands, perhaps millions, of people into orbit. If this seems unrealistic, note that a hundred and fifty years ago nobody had ever flown in an airplane, but today nearly 500 million people fly each year.
Some special groups might find space settlement particularly attractive: The handicapped could keep a settlement at zero-g to make wheelchairs and walkers unnecessary. Penal colonies might be created in orbit as they should be fairly escape proof. People who wish to experiment with very different social and political forms could get away from restrictive social norms.
Although some colonies may follow this model, it's reasonable to expect that the vast majority of space colonists will be ordinary people. Indeed, eventually most people in space settlements will be born there, and some day they may vastly exceed Earth's population. Based on the materials available, the human population in orbit could one day exceed ten trillion living in millions of space colonies with a combined living space hundreds of times the surface of the Earth.
What?A space settlement is a home in orbit.
Pictures of Kalpana One.
Lewis One space settlement design.Where?In orbit, not on a planet or moon. Why should we live in orbit rather than on a planet or moon? Because orbit is far superior to the Moon and Mars for colonization, and other planets and moons are too hot, too far away, and/or have no solid surface.For an alternate view, see Robert Zubrin's powerful case for Mars exploration and colonization. Mars' biggest advantage is that all the materials necessary for life may be found on Mars. While materials for orbital colonies must be imported from the Moon or Near Earth Objects (NEO's -- asteroids and comets), there are many advantages to orbital colonies. Advantages include:
Later settlements can spread out across the solar system, taking advantage of the water in Jupiter's moons or exploiting the easily available materials of the asteroid belt. Eventually the solar system will become too crowded, and some settlements will head for nearby stars.
Interstellar travel seems impractical due to long travel times. But what if you lived in space settlements for fifty generations? Do you really care if your settlement is near our Sun or in transit to Alpha Centuri? So what if the trip takes a few generations? If energy and make up materials for the trip can be stored, a stable population can migrate to nearby stars. At the new star, local materials and energy can be used to build new settlements and resume population growth. How?
With great difficulty. Fortunately, although building space colonies will be very difficult, it's not impossible. Building cities in space will require materials, energy, transportation, communications, life support, and radiation protection.
Why?GrowthWhy build space settlements? Why do weeds grow through cracks in sidewalks? Why did life crawl out of the oceans and colonize land? Because living things want to grow and expand. We have the ability to live in space (see the bibliography), therefore we will -- but not this fiscal yearThe key advantage of space settlements is the ability to build new land, rather than take it from someone else. This allows a huge expansion of humanity without war or destruction of Earth's biosphere. The asteroids alone provide enough material to make new orbital land hundreds of times greater than the surface of the Earth, divided into millions of colonies. This land can easily support trillions of people.
A Nice Place to LiveA few features of orbital real estate are worth mentioning:
If there were a major collision today, not only would billions of people die, but recovery would be difficult since everyone would be affected. If major space settlements are built before the next collision, the unaffected space settlements can provide aid, much as we offer help when disaster strikes another part of the world.
Building space settlements will require a great deal of material. If NEOs are used, then any asteroids heading for Earth can simply be torn apart to supply materials for building colonies and saving Earth at the same time.
Power and WealthThose that colonize space will control vast lands, enormous amounts of electrical power, and nearly unlimited material resources. The societies that develop these resources will create wealth beyond our wildest imagination and wield power -- hopefully for good rather than for ill.In the past, societies which have grown by colonization have gained wealth and power at the expense of those who were subjugated. Unlike previous colonization programs, space colonization will build new land, not steal it from the natives. Thus, the power and wealth born of space colonization will not come at the expense of others, but rather represent the fruits of great labors.
When?How long did it take to build New York? California? France? Even given ample funds the first settlement will take decades to construct. No one is building a space settlement today, and there are no immediate prospects for large amounts of money, so the first settlement will be awhile. If Burt Rutan's prediction of affordable orbital tourism in 25 years is correct, however, it's reasonable to expect the first orbital colony to be built within about 50 years.If the first settlement is designed to build additional settlements, colonization could proceed quite rapidly. The transportation systems will already be in place and a large, experienced workforce will be in orbit.
Unless...Space settlement is extraordinarily expensive because launch vehicles are difficult to manufacture and operate. For example, the current (2004) cost to put an individual into orbit for a short time is about $30 million. To enable large scale space tourism by the middle class, this cost must be reduced to about $1,000-$10,000, a factor of 3 to 4 orders of magnitude. Space tourism has launch requirements similar to space settlement suggesting that a radical improvement in manufacturing technology may be necessary to enable space settlement.One candidate for a major improvement in manufacturing technology is molecular nanotechnology. An important branch of nanotechnology is concerned with developing diamonoid mechanosynthesis. This means building things out of diamond-like materials, placing each atom at a precise location (ignoring thermal motion). Diamond is 69 times stronger than titanium for the same weight and is much stiffer. If spacecraft were made of diamonoid materials rather than aluminum, they could be much lighter allowing more payload. For an excellent analysis applying nanotechnology to space development, seeMcKendree 1995
Diamond mechanosythesis may enable a radical transportation system that could allow millions of people to go to orbit each year -- an orbital tower. An orbital tower is a structure extending from the Earth's surface into orbit. To build an orbital tower, start construction at geosynchronous orbit. Extend the tower down towards Earth and upwards at the same rate. this keeps the center-of-mass at geosynchronous orbit so the tower stays over one point on the Earth's surface. Extend the tower all the way to the surface and attach it. then an elevator on the tower can move people and materials to and fromorbit at very low cost. There are many practical problems with orbital towers, but they may be feasible.
An orbital tower is in tension so it won't collapse, but it must be very strong or it will break. The point of greatest strain is at geosynchronous orbit, so an orbital tower must be thickest at that point. The ratio of the diameter of the tower between geosynchronous orbit and the ground is called the taper factor. For steel, the taper factor is greater than 10,000 making a steel orbital tower completely impractical. However, for diamonoid materials the taper factor is 21.9 with a safety factor the same as McKendree 1995 . Thus a diamonoid orbital tower 1 meter thick at the ground would be only 22 meters thick at geosynchronous orbit. Fullerene nanotechnology, using carbon nanotubes, may be even better than diamonoid allowing a smaller taper factor. Calculations suggest that the materials necessary for construction of such an orbital tower would require one asteroid with a radius between one and two kilometers. These calculations assume the tower is built from diamonoid material with a density of 4 g/cm^3 and the asteroid has a density of 1.8 g/cm^3 and is 3% carbon.
Thus, molecular nanotechnology may enable space settlement.
To the space settlement home page.
Author: Al Globus
"We start from the problem’s most basic elements to reexamine whether a better solution might be possible."
In a recent interview with Kevin Rose, Musk said the following:
I think it’s important to reason from first principles rather than by analogy. The normal way we conduct our lives is we reason by analogy. We are doing this because it’s like something else that was done, or it is like what other people are doing. Slight iterations on a theme.
Meaning: we usually take something that already exists and innovate within that paradigm. In the startup world, entrepreneurs create “Pinterest for kids” or “Foursquare for hikers”. In design, we put our own spin on whatever design patterns are in vogue right now. In programming, we code mostly in the same way that other programmers code, using the same tools.
This isn’t a terrible thing. Reasoning from analogy tends to help avoid really bad ideas, since we’re thinking in terms of what has worked well before. But it’s not particularly useful when a problem requires deep innovation.
“First principles” is a physics way of looking at the world. What that really means is that you boil things down to the most fundamental truths and then reason up from there. That takes a lot more mental energy.
Someone could – and people do — say battery packs are really expensive and that’s just the way they will always be because that’s the way they have been in the past. They would say it’s going to cost $600 / KWhour. It’s not going to be much better than that in the future.
Meaning: throughout history, thousands of pundits have claimed that a certain industry, design pattern, object or idea had reached its peak. That it could never be improved upon, or produced more cheaply. And most who’ve made these kinds of statements have been proven wrong by the course of innovation. Alternatively, they had predicted only small improvements when drastic improvements were still within reach.
So, from first principles, we say: what are the material constituents of the batteries? What is the spot market value of the material constituents? It has carbon, nickel, aluminum, and some polymers for separation, and a steel can. Break that down on a materials basis, if we bought that on a London Metal Exchange, what would each of these things cost? Oh geez, it’s $80 / KWhour. Clearly, you need to think of clever ways to take those materials and combine them into the shape of a battery cell, and you can have batteries that are much cheaper than anyone realizes.
Meaning: rather than taking what already exists as the basis of our thinking, we break the problem down to its most fundamental truths and examine each piece. Even though a problem has already been solved, we start from the problem’s most basic elements to reexamine whether a better solution might be possible.
Musk talks about breaking down the concept of a battery pack into its foundational, material elements: carbon, nickel, aluminum, polymers, a casing. These are the essential ingredients of a battery pack, the fundamental truths of the problem. From there, everything else can be optimized and improved upon depending on the smarts of the people tackling the problem.
In this case, reasoning from analogy would be to say “It currently costs about $600 / KWhour to create a battery pack. We need to budget accordingly.” It means to set up machinery and acquire materials in the same way others have done because, well, that’s what has worked so far.
Unless you’re an engineer or deeply interested in battery packs, this example probably feels a little far from home. Here are a few more examples:
EntrepreneurshipProblem: Creating a website that allows customers to buy a new car at a low price and have it home delivered, sparing them the pain of a stressful dealership visit and price negotiation.
Reasoning from analogy: New cars are purchased from dealerships. Maybe the website provides an online way to communicate with a car salesperson and negotiate a price via online chat? The customer can pick up the car from the dealership, or have the salesperson deliver it.
What if we could manufacture the cars ourselves?
Reasoning from first principles: If customers are purchasing new cars, we need to secure the cheapest possible source of new cars. What if we could manufacture the cars ourselves? Or, if that’s impossible, or not economical, purchase them directly from the manufacturer, bypassing dealerships completely?
DesignProblem: Create the world’s most minimal, beautiful email app.
Reasoning from analogy: Gmail has an awesome email interface, but it’s not very minimal looking. What if I created an interface similar to Gmail, cut out a few features, and used only black and white?
Reasoning from first principles: Email requires that one user can send a message to another and have it be read. The most minimal possible email app would do only these things. I’m going to need to use some clever design techniques to make sure the app is still fun and practical to use…
ProgrammingProblem: Create a login system for a web app.
Reasoning from analogy: Most apps require a user to provide a username, email address and password, with the password confirmed twice. That seems to be best practice, so I’ll do the same.
Reasoning from first principles: What’s the least information I need to collect from the user to make the app functional? The app creates a page for each user that is their online identity hub. I want their full name to be displayed at the top of the page, so I need to collect that. I won’t display a username anywhere in the app, so I don’t really need that. But if two users have the same name, how will I create a unique URL slug for each? I guess I could add a randomized number to the slug, and do a check before saving that ensures the number is unique…
I’ll then need to collect the user’s email in-case they forget their password. I probably don’t need to verify their password twice, since the app will allow them to easily reset it as long as they have access to their email account.
Wrapping UpReasoning from first principles helps to ensure that you develop the smartest, leanest possible solution to a problem. It may even result in some astounding innovations. The downside is that it’s a much harder path than reasoning from analogy. A one-question problem now becomes a 100 question problem. But when you’re working on something that truly matters to you, this process of hard thinking will truly be worth it.
With so many other smart people working on similar problems, the easiest way to truly innovate, no matter what field you’re in, is to reason from first principles.
by Elon Musk
I'm a thinker, dreamer, doer and a strong follower of stoicism. I have a passion to learn and apply that to make the world a better place.